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home : opinions : editorials May 24, 2016

7/27/2013 1:32:00 PM
Editorial: Stark reminders of human cost of war
1st Lt. Jonam Russell, of Cornville
1st Lt. Jonam Russell, of Cornville
Sgt. Jordan Maynard, of Kingman
Sgt. Jordan Maynard, of Kingman

The cost of war has come home in a rush in the Verde Valley in recent days. As Cottonwood welcomes one severely wounded Marine to a new home, Cornville mourns the death of a soldier.

Too often it is only the military families who live with the daily reminders that the United States is still at war. Operation Enduring Freedom updates compete with so much other news, and context is difficult to attain.

The stories of Sgt. Jordan Maynard, of Kingman, who lost his legs two years ago, and 1st Lt. Jonam Russell, of Cornville, who lost his life last week, bring context quite harshly. Gratitude for such sacrifices can never go far enough.

Whatever the status of troop drawdown, OEF remains a deadly war zone. Young men and women in uniform going to and coming from the region deserve all of the attention and fanfare they can get. How many times does the thought of personally thanking a soldier come too late?

They were not forced to serve, and no one takes a job that risks life and limb just for the paycheck. Even in a recession, it takes a special breed to join up during wartime.

It is perhaps too easy to keep an emotional distance from Afghanistan. The USA has been accustomed to Operation Enduring Freedom since 2001. In day-to-day discussions of late, it has become a matter of politics and mediation rather than soldiers' stories.

Two days after Lt. Russell's death, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff reported being "uplifted" by the progress being made in Afghanistan.

Yet, lives are still on the line. U.S. military casualties have been periodic but consistent. As of July 26, the Department of Defense lists 1,755 U.S. service people killed in action in Afghanistan and another 19,032 wounded in action.

As Sgt. Maynard moves to Cottonwood with his family and memorial ceremonies are held for Lt. Russell, the Verde Valley has human reminders of how much is owed to those wearing the uniform.

Related Stories:
• Verde Valley soldier killed in Afghanistan
• Marine builds a new life after suffering horrific war wounds

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Reader Comments

Posted: Tuesday, August 6, 2013
Article comment by: Not needing your defense

No army has attacked me, my state or my country, just how are you defending me?

What are you defending me from?

Did I ask for your defense?

Was I asked if I wanted your defense or the huge bill to pay for it?

PLEASE stop defending me, I can defend myself.

Posted: Sunday, August 4, 2013
Article comment by: @ BLOWBACK

It's hard to believe anyone would volunteer to defend mean-spirited cynics like you. But we do. Have a nice day on your soapbox.

Posted: Wednesday, July 31, 2013
Article comment by: It's called BLOWBACK!

I hope they do reinstitute the draft and with no loopholes that politicians can exploit for themselves or their offspring.

Because then all you sheeple who stand around waving flags, yelling 'support our troops' and "God bless America" might think again when your precious little grandson or daughter has to go.

Just ask Congress, it is easy to declare war, again and again, when someone else has to go or someone elses kid is sacrificed.

Maybe then all you obedient sheeple might actually do something to end America's endless wars for resources and profit.

There would be a surge in religious belief, because many groups are historically recognized as legal contientious objectors, they cannot be forced to serve. Groups like the Amish, Buddhists, Quakers, Jehovah Witnesses, etc. etc.

Isn't Freedom of Religion grand?

Posted: Wednesday, July 31, 2013
Article comment by: @ Jeremy

Sir, you are incorrect about JFK being first to send troops to 'Nam.

Eisenhower, knowing the evils of War but being pushed by hawks in his administration and the Republican fueled anti-communist hysteria of the era, started sending military 'advisers' to Viet Nam in 1955.

Just for the record.


Posted: Tuesday, July 30, 2013
Article comment by: It seems to me:

Maybe-YOU-missed-something, having once helped achieve the laudable goal of eliminating the draft, is now pushing the same anti-war rhetoric too far.

In general, "war" is simply the consequence of a variety of social problems. Some--such as overcrowding, resource depletion, and economically motivated war-mongering--can be mitigated by committed activism. Some--such as national expansionism, religious or ideological differences, and overwhelming paranoia--can not.

Anti-war activists that can't see the difference run the risk of merely reinstating mandatory conscription.

Posted: Tuesday, July 30, 2013
Article comment by: Condolences to the Family

This boy is dead.

My life has not changed in the least bit. Except that I have less freedom today than I did before 9/11.

Seems the terrorists have won.

He died in vain.

I blame this society's warrior mentality, not the boy or the family.

When you can't think for yourself,
you can be taught to shoot bullets.

Posted: Tuesday, July 30, 2013
Article comment by: What Freedom?

I can't protest

it's now ILLEGAL.

"What did this magical universally-loved bill say? Well some are calling it the anti-Occupy law and it allows the government to bring charges against Americans involved in many kinds of political protest at any location the secret service, quote, "is or will be temporarily visiting." So basically if the government wants to shut down a protest, they just send a secret service officer down there to scratch his balls, and then they can start putting people in jail for a year or more."


What was that you are sacrificing for again?

Posted: Tuesday, July 30, 2013
Article comment by: Bob Loblaw

Wow David,

You really are full of yourself. My experience from hanging out with the boys at the VFW is that those who brag about their service are rarely the ones who took the point.

When I read what you wrote,

"That's the last I'll speak on this in this location, it already sickens me that it's gone this far.

I'd like to offer my sincere apologies for my involvement in getting off topic here to those families in the article above who might read this and take offense. You've had to deal with enough aggravation and stress surrounding your situations without me adding to it."

I was shocked, you really are just a poser!

You? offering your apologies? There's no combat veteran in the country that would write what you wrote!

Posted: Tuesday, July 30, 2013
Article comment by: David Friedman

The direct use of force is such a poor solution to any problem, it is generally employed only by small children and large nations.

Posted: Tuesday, July 30, 2013
Article comment by: Errol Samuelson

Jeremy Selting

The rest can give peace a chance, but know I got your six if it don't work out!

Posted: Tuesday, July 30, 2013
Article comment by: Marine Wife

Preach it Jeremy Selting! It's those willing to sacrifice that allow others the freedom to protest against the very actions allowing that freedom.

Posted: Tuesday, July 30, 2013
Article comment by: ID ID

I do know first hand that our children in uniform, our spouses, our soldiers "DO NOT DIE IN VAIN". People in some countries do and will do anything it takes to take our "AMERICAN WAY OF LIFE AWAY". Can't you see that. Please honor our heroes or "GET OUT"

Posted: Tuesday, July 30, 2013
Article comment by: Jeremy Selting

@ Maybe you missed something

You are the problem! You and your rose colored glasses wearing hippie kind are the reason this great country has slid into this pit where being patriotic is frowned upon! Up until Vietnam this country would come together and fight evil as one! Use WWII as the best and last example!
Check your facts on when Vietnam truthfully got started and which president sent the first "troops" there. (Give you a hint he was assassinated)
People like you can sit on your computer and spread your special kind of B.S because people like me, David in Cwood and all the other Warriors that have come before us have stood up and set out on the path to hunt the things you fear and make a change in the world! Regardless if you believe this or not it is true, there will always be evil and sometimes violence is the only answer!

And yes thats my real name, no point in being anonymous when you talk about something you truly believe.

Posted: Tuesday, July 30, 2013
Article comment by: David in Cottonwood

@ Bob

Well Bob, I more or less feel that after doing MY 20 years of uniformed service and sacrifice to the Nation, including a year in Iraq during OIF 1 where I saw firsthand evidence of things you wish to deny, that I've earned the right to a little smugness, you're free to disagree from your armchair quarterback position of course.

And while I certainly did suggest he find somewhere better to live than right here in the good ol' USA, I FIRST said he should get off his whining butt and take real action to turn THIS country around. Is there a reason you focused on the one thing I said to the exclusion of the other, and then pretend to take the higher ground by simply rephrasing part of what I had already said and claiming it for your own, Bob?

Frankly Bob, your own blind politics are blatantly on display mine aren't blind at all despite your erroneous assumptions, not the least because I don't fit in either of the pigeon holes you tried to provide.

I really have to wonder about the mental health of someone who would categorize the hijacking of a post displaying a serious outpouring of gratitude and support for wounded or deceased veterans and their families as, 'fun'.

That's the last I'll speak on this in this location, it already sickens me that it's gone this far.

I'd like to offer my sincere apologies for my involvement in getting off topic here to those families in the article above who might read this and take offense. You've had to deal with enough aggravation and stress surrounding your situations without me adding to it.

Posted: Tuesday, July 30, 2013
Article comment by: Maybe YOU missed something

What actions have I taken?

I have marched on Washington protesting war. I have written numerous letters to my legislators, protesting war. I have signed petitions. I have written letters to the editor and posted responses. I have counseled people to not join the military (and succeeded). I have questioned my countries motives and their policies as any patriot would do in a FREE society. It has cost me time, money and probably work.

What have you done?

Taken mindless orders and did as you are told for a paycheck? Killed other people because you were told to without question? My dog takes orders too. What is so brave about that? Most kids join because of a lack of jobs or money for college. Recruiters lie about benefits and target small towns with little prospects for graduating students. One just told my nephew that the National Guard does not go to war.

Instead of going to war . . . you should be demanding jobs, economic equality and the end of political corruption.

You do know that the Gulf of Tonkin Incident that started Viet Nam was a lie, by your government?

"The second Tonkin Gulf incident was originally claimed by the U.S. National Security Agency to have occurred on August 4, 1964, as another sea battle, but instead may have involved "Tonkin Ghosts" (false radar images) and not actual NVN torpedo boat attacks.

The outcome of these two incidents was the passage by Congress of the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, which granted President Lyndon B. Johnson the authority to assist any Southeast Asian country whose government was considered to be jeopardized by "communist aggression." The resolution served as Johnson's legal justification for deploying U.S. conventional forces and the commencement of open warfare against North Vietnam.

In 2005, an internal National Security Agency historical study was declassified it concluded that the Maddox had engaged the North Vietnamese Navy on August 2, but that there were no North Vietnamese Naval vessels present during the incident of August 4. The report stated regarding August 2:

At 1505G, Captain Herrick ordered Ogier's gun crews to open fire if the boats approached within ten thousand yards. At about 1505G, the Maddox fired three rounds to warn off the communist boats.

This initial action was never reported by the Johnson administration, which insisted that the Vietnamese boats fired first.

Regarding August 4:
It is not simply that there is a different story as to what happened it is that no attack happened that night. [...] In truth, Hanoi's navy was engaged in nothing that night but the salvage of two of the boats damaged on August 2." ~ Wikipedia

5O,OOO+ American's died in Viet Nam. For what? Nothing has changed there, but war profiteers got richer.

You know what a FALSE FLAG operation is?
Google 'Operation Northwoods.'

The military uses soldiers as guinea pigs . . .

War will exist until that distant day when the conscientious objector enjoys the same reputation and prestige that the warrior does today. ~ John F. Kennedy

You keep 'ranting' your justifications . . . which on further inquiry . . . are nothing more than mindless lies.

For our freedom . . . 176+ countries have freedom.
Defending our country . . . not seeing any foreign troops on our soil, invading the U.S.
Preventing terrorist attacks . . . by invading other countries, bombing innocent people(collateral damage)? Sounds like we are creating terrorists.

Besides did you not know that is FBI jurisdiction? The FBI definition of terrorism . . .

"There is no single, universally accepted, definition of terrorism. Terrorism is defined in the Code of Federal Regulations as “the unlawful use of force and violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives” (28 C.F.R. Section 0.85)."

Who does that sound like to you? In Iraq, Yemen, Afghanistan, Africa, Pakistan, Iran . . .

You are eight times more likely to be killed by a police officer than a terrorist. ~ National Safety Council

I am not whining, I am telling the truth, "Too bad you can't handle the truth."

I don't want to see one more soldier lose his limbs, his mind or his life.

If I don't speak up about it every chance I get, then tell me . . . just WHEN is it appropriate?

See I don't take orders . . . but I cry every time I see a beautiful young faces such as these and all the lost potential of that human being because of a needless death.

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